Supervisor: Dr Linden Ashcroft (

The recent climate of Victoria featured three long droughts: the Federation drought (1895–1902), the World War II drought (1939–1945) and the Millennium Drought (1997–2009). While each drought was uniquely severe, comparing their characteristics quickly and easily can be hard because there are many elements that make up a ‘drought’. These elements can include the time of year that was driest, whether there were fewer rain days or simply less rain on each rain day, and the way in which the drought was broken.

In this project, we want you to address this challenge by helping us build a collection of data visualisations to tell the story of Victoria’s parched history. Your collection will help us understand these droughts were experienced by people across the state, and how our understanding of drought is changing as we move into a warmer world.

This is the right project for you if you:

  • Have (or want to learn) programming skills in R or Python
  • Have (or want) experience working with gridded or observational weather data, particularly extremes
  • Want to improve your data visualisation skills
  • Want to work with an interdisciplinary team of climate scientists, historians and media researchers. 

Note: this project is in conjunction with Parched, an Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture led by La Trobe University.

To apply: the Undergraduate Scholarship application form can be found here